Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BENNEL, Bennle, n.

1. Often used in pl. A long reedy grass of any kind. w.Sc. 1924  Glasgow Herald (25 Nov.) 10:
It [cornstack] is usually founded on large stones and thorn branches. . . . It is thatched with strae or reshies or bennels.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 63:
Bennles. Things dry and brittle, as reed.
s.Sc. 1887  Jam.6:
Bennets, Bennles, the name given to the various kinds of reed-grass and reeds which are used for making mats.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B. 53:
Bennel. A stalk of the common reed Phragmites communis. Usually pl.

2. “Dry withered weeds collected for fuel” (s.Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

3. (See quot.) Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.:
Bennel. A band of straw with which a sheaf of corn is tied; also one of the bands of straw with which a stack of corn is kept together.
[1, 2, prob. so called because used for binding sheaves, etc. Cf. bent bands s.v. Bent, n.1]

4. “A mat of reeds formerly used in poorer houses (1) for screening rafters of a ceiling [obsol.] or (2) for forming partitions in cottages [obs.]” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B.). attrib. Rxb. c.1885  W. Laidlaw Poetry and Prose (1901) 34:
The bennel-ceiling then was brunt.

5. †“Bennels, Lint-Bennels, The seed of flax” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B., s.v. Bennel).

[5 is prob. a contr. of bennel-seeds — i.e. the name of the dried stalk being used to designate what was on it. Origin uncertain. Bent, n.1, q.v., has been suggested with dim. suff. el, for which cf. E.Ang. bentle, coarse reedy grass; also O.N. bendill, a band, for which cf. Benlin, n.1, cogn. with O.E. band and band.]

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"Bennel n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Oct 2018 <>



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